Sculptural planters, graphic patio umbrellas, and firepits may get the most attention when it comes to alfresco design, but don’t overlook a backyard’s or balcony’s most hardworking player. When styled well, the right outdoor rug can make your yard feel as cozy as your living room. It can also hide all sorts of eyesores—from chipped tiles to stained wood decking—and is a quick fix for rentals if you can’t (or don’t have the budget to) tackle a complete reno overhaul.
To find your space’s perfect match, consider the climate. Will it be left out in the rain and full sunlight or under the shade of a canopy? Natural-fiber options like jute and sisal require some coverage because they’re sensitive to the elements and need regular cleaning, whereas synthetics —polypropylene, nylon, polyester, and acrylic—are a bit more hardy.
No matter what your style, Kevin Isbell of design firm Kevin Isbell Interiors says consistency is key. “Your outdoor space should feel like an extension of your home and not as if you just stepped into Margaritaville,” he says. In other words, if your house is teeming with neutral, earthy tones, aim to continue that theme. Now that you’ve narrowed down the material and aesthetic, shop our guide to the very best options on the market.
- Best overall: Dash & Albert Samson Navy Indoor/Outdoor Rug
- Best value: Collive Farmhouse Cotton Woven Area Rug
- Best for covered patios: NuLoom Rigo Hand Woven Jute Area Rug
- Best patterned: Rifle Paper Co. x Loloi AME-02 RP Trellis Navy Rug
- Best geometric: Crate & Barrel Stockert Indoor/Outdoor Geo Rug
- Best olefin: Unique Loom Solo Solid Shag Collection Area Rug
- Best acrylic: Perennials Ikat Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Rug
- Best polyester: West Elm Desert Stream Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Best Overall: Dash & Albert Samson Navy Indoor/Outdoor RugMichelle Lisac Interior Design, prefers a lower dhurrie-weave pile height, like this handwoven one made from recycled PET. The narrow navy and white lines will help hide stains and scuffs but aren’t too busy, so it won’t compete with a colorful sofa or overwhelm a small space.
Best Value: Collive Farmhouse Cotton Woven Area Rug
Best for Covered Patios: NuLoom Rigo Hand Woven Jute Area Rug
Best Patterned: Rifle Paper Co. x Loloi AME-02 RP Trellis Navy Rug
Best Geometric: Crate & Barrel Stockert Indoor/Outdoor Geo Rug
Best Olefin: Unique Loom Solo Solid Shag Collection Area Rug
Best Acrylic: Perennials Ikat Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Best Polyester: West Elm Desert Stream Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Pro Tips for Buying an Outdoor Rug
- Invest in the highest quality you can afford. Whatever your budget, whether under $300 or four figures, Isbell says outdoor rugs are a category you shouldn’t skimp on. “They take a beating far more than any indoor carpet, so the old saying, ‘It only hurts once’ applies here,” he explains.
- Think twice about light colors and chunky textures. That is, if durability is a nonnegotiable. “This advice goes against all the things that I appreciate when thinking about interior design, but functionality takes priority when it comes to exteriors,” explains Terry Lin, cofounder and chief design officer of DTC outdoor living brand Outer. “Your rug will inevitably get dirty. Light colors will get dingy. Textures in the weave will become a catchall for grime,”she says. “Think about maintenance and upkeep.”
- Contrast is key. “If the furniture is really eclectic, I would choose a rug in a solid shade,” says Caitlin Murray, founder and creative director of Black Lacquer Design. But if the patio is quite neutral, consider a patterned rug to make things feel more textured and layered. Essentially, no matter your choice, try to avoid monotony. “You never want it to blend in with the flooring,” she adds.
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.
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